India will look to carry forward momentum from their fantastic triumph in the third test at the Wanderers when they square off against the Proteas in the first of six ODI’s at Kingsmead on Thursday.
India had never lost a test before at the Wanderers and their bowlers, lead by Mohammed Shami, ensured that proud tradition continued as South Africa collapsed on the fourth afternoon in Johannesburg, losing their last nine wickets for 53 runs. Having lost the first two tests in Cape Town and Pretoria, the Joburg win was an important win for Virat Kohli’s men, as they avoided a whitewash against the Proteas.
The scene now shifts to the One Day Internationals, and India, more comfortable with the white ball version of the game, will look to draw first blood in Durban. The coastal city has the largest population of Indians outside India, and the visitors are sure to be heavily supported at Kingsmead.
South Africa are on a bit of rebuilding mode in the ODI format after the twin disappointments of the 2015 World Cup and 2017 Champions Trophy. Young Lungisani Ngidi, impressive in the tests against India, has earned a maiden call up to the ODI team. Also back in the reckoning is Khaya Zondo, with Titans finisher Farhaan Behardien making away for the Dolphins skipper. Convenor of selectors Linda Zondi has however said that the door is not closed on Behardien, so prolific at domestic level, but unable to replicate that form at international level, and that they want to explore other options ahead of the 2019 World Cup.
The Proteas’ last ODI assignment was an easy 3-0 home win over Bangladesh. In the first ODI,they chased down 279 without losing a wicket, and in the other two fixtures, they racked up 350+ scores and blew Bangladesh away. Young Aiden Markram made his ODI debut in that series and has been retained for this one despite his mixed returns in the three tests.
A major concern for coach Otis Gibson would be the form of wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock, who looked all at sea in the test series. De Kock has however enjoyed great success against India in past ODI’s, and Gibson will be hoping that he gets his mojo back before the Australia series begins.
Looking at the odds from various bookies, the Proteas start as favourites at 4/6, with India being quoted at 6/5 at the time of writing this article.
For India, the likes of Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, all test specialists, will not be featuring in this series. Rohit Sharma looked all at sea in the tests, but was in brilliant form in his last ODI assignment, netting a double century against Sri Lanka in Mohali. Veteran MS Dhoni will also return behind the stumps for the Champions Trophy runners up.
India’s last ODI against South Africa was in the Champions Trophy in England, where they beat the Proteas to knock them out of the tournament.
South Africa v India kicks off at Kingsmead, Durban on 1 February, 2018